12 April 2007...8:57 pm

Seven Days in the Two Weeks Too Late

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My roommate, Kyle, works for Knopf, and as such, amazing things happen on our kitchen table. (I mean, collard greens make us both a little kinky, but I speak of grander events). They include the appearance of free (plundered? donated? perked? I’ve never asked) copies of the new Leni Riefenstahl biography, Jane Smiley’s sexy and relatively inconsequential “Seven Days in the Hills,” and assorted other titles of general interest.

As far as I’m concerned, though, the best part of Kyle’s job is that she gets to bring home a copy of the NYT Book Review a week before it’s published. Before I was informed, probably at a hip party and most definitely snidely, that just about everyone in the publishing world enjoys such a delight, I thought we were about the most fortunate people in the outer boroughs. When I went to friends’ houses on Saturday and read their paper, I made a point of explaining why I could skip the book review. Kyle told me that she would read it on the subway, keeping the front cover visible, waiting for someone to exclaim about her amazing ability to know the literary future. Truthfully, no one really cared. But I keep loving and reading the Book Review two weeks in advance, which means that this post is woefully tardy and painfully irrelevant.

NEVERTHELESS, dear readers, I would like to make an announcement regarding the April 8, 2007 review, written by Kate Roiphe, of A.M. Homes’s new memoir “The Mistress’s Daughter.” In the book, Homes discusses the experience of being contacted by her birth mother, who gave her up for adoption after she was impregnated by her older, married boss.

Roiphe’s review is entitled “Two Mommies.” This was an obvious allusion to “Heather Has Two Mommies,” the children’s literary sensation that swept San Francisco and certain high-rent neighborhoods of Manhattan off their well-shod feet about ten years ago.

That was a dumb title for a book review, especially given the options. If we’re going to make dated references and show a modicum of effort to recognize the darkness of much of Homes’s work, we need to search farther afield for titular inspiration. What did Homes have, especially in 1997?

Mo’ Mommies, mo’ problems.

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